Folklore and literature present us with rich and meaningful manifestations of the archetypes and phenomena that are the concern of this book. How could they not, when their function is precisely to mediate between the world of higher realities and that of the most modest, daily, human experiences? This is an instance of the law that teaches us that “extremes meet,” for popular stories, as well as literary and dramatic works of entertainment allude to that which cannot be avoided without bypassing the very meaning of human life. Admittedly, literary and folkloric narratives and heroes reflect these realities in a way that may sometimes appear as very distant and indirect. On a most immediate level, they tend to be relevant in social and moral matters, not to say on the psychological plane. It remains nevertheless true that, in the best instances, treasuries of paradoxical and “foolish” wisdom can be gleaned in the most unexpected quarters of popular and literary culture. Vox populi vox Dei: popular wisdom is most often closely akin to sapiential wisdom, although it may couch the highest principles in a plain, familiar, or burlesque language. Our focus on but a few of these figures cannot be justified otherwise than by referring to the unavoidable need to choose, and thereby exclude.


Uncomfortable Position Literal Truth Human Predicament Popular Story Popular Wisdom 
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© Patrick Laude 2005

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  • Patrick Laude

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